Roky Erickson, psychedelic rock pioneer, passes away at 71

Roky Erickson, psychedelic rock pioneer, passes away at 71

Roky Erickson, founder of The 13th Floor Elevators and a pioneer of psychedelic rock in the 1960s, has passed away at 71 years old.

An official statement from Erickson’s management has confirmed that he died in Austin, but did not provide details about the circumstances.

roky erickson

“Music and laughter forever”: Roky Erickson of The 13th Floor Elevators has passed away, leaving a monumental legacy for psychedelic rock.

After co-founding the Elevators in 1965, Erickson carved a sound upon which a critical portion of psychedelic rock would become based. Their debut album The Psychedelic Sounds of The 13th Floor Elevators remains an eminent touchstone for the genre to this day.

Erickson was also somewhat of a martyr for the countercultural revolution, a avid supporter of marijuana and psychedelic drug use who was eventually arrested for the possession of a single joint in 1969. A diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, he escaped conviction with a mental illness plea that rendered him institutionalised until 1972.

Erickson’s later years would be spent with his band Aliens and under his own name, performing throughout. In 2015 he reunited with The 13th Floor Elevators for a gig at Levitation festival in his home state of Texas.